Tips to Enhance your Shopify Blog September 02, 2015 03:00

Imagine a scenario. You have set up your Shopify store. You have created all your products, product descriptions, and pages on the store site. You get customers who buy your products.

But, there is a new announcement you need to make about the product. You can send an email to your customers, but it may get lost in their inbox or may be hard to reference a month from now. This also only notifies existing customers, not new customers or media outlets. So how else can you create a repository of announcements and other information about your store?

One great way to keep customers in the loop is to use your blog.

Why is your blog important?

The above is only one of many scenarios where a blog can be helpful. Blogs create a chronological sequence of posts that can be categorized, tagged, and updated. In the context of your Shopify store, this makes blogs a versatile tool to accomplish a few things.

While blogging about announcements is helpful, a blog also gives you opportunities for improved site SEO, better customer communication, and the ability to build a community and loyalty around your brand and products.

First, your store’s search engine optimization (SEO) can be improved by maintaining a regular blog containing posts with focused keywords. We wrote more about SEO in a previous post.

Blog posts give you an avenue to create new content that contains specific keywords that your audience or customers may be searching. In addition, active websites tend to be ranked higher by search engines. Starting a blog is a great way to keep your store site updated.

Second, it can be a great way to engage your customers. Your blog can help you build an audience and community around your posts. It is also a great way to get feedback through the comments section. As you or other customers reply to a customer comment, you start building a community and a platform where your customers can come to get help or share their thoughts.

This can produce loyal customers who feel involved with your brand and products. These are the customers who are most likely to be advocates for your brand and spread word-of-mouth referrals.

This also gives you an opportunity to humanize your store and website. Think of when you most recently purchased from a new brand or store — chances are if you “knew” a brand (i.e., knew of it or could name a person behind it), you chose that brand. People like other people rather than faceless companies, and having a blog gives you an excellent opportunity to build that connection.

Companies with great blogs tailor their content to their audiences. Here are some examples of good blogs – Help Scout, Buffer, Backcountry, and Southwest.

Your Shopify store has a blog built in already that you can start using to enhance SEO and customer interaction.

Writing content 101

The thought of starting or maintaining your Shopify blog shouldn’t give you nightmares. Okay, maybe nightmares was a bit dramatic. But your blog doesn’t have to be a huge chore that takes your focus away from what you really want to do – sell stuff.

Here are a few content tips to keep in mind while crafting your blog posts and maintaining your blog:

Post length
Your posts don’t have to be extremely lengthy. Depending on what you write about, you can have short posts as long as you get your message across. It is better to start writing posts, even if they are short, than wait months before you publish a long one.

From an SEO standpoint, a recommended minimum length is about 300 words.

Regularity
The whole point of having a blog is for your audience to get useful information. This may be your customers, potential customers, or even the general public. Create regular posts so that your audience knows when to expect a new post so that they come back to check for updates. Consistency is more important than post length, and the more you write, the easier it tends to be to find topics.

You can pick any interval you are comfortable with (weekly, bi-weekly, even monthly), but try to develop a pattern to affect your audience behaviour.

Voice
Your blog is your voice (through words) to your audience. You can choose to make the voice of your store blog as personal as you like or as formal. This would depend on how you want your brand to be perceived and your audience.

But whichever you pick, keep the tone active (as opposed to passive). This means following the subject-verb-object sentence structure as much as you can. Here’s an example:

Active: I threw the ball over the building.
Passive: The ball was thrown by me over the building.

In both cases, I must be able to throw pretty well. But also, the active sentence is how we would logically think about an action and visualize it in our head.

Varied elements
Use a variety of elements – like bold text, lists, text boxes, block quotes, images – to create areas of importance within your post.

Block quotes like this one can be used to draw attention to important points, and to disrupt the flat flow of content.

These elements add interest to your post as people typically lose focus if there is long plain text.

Images
Images can convey a lot of information and complement your text. These can be stock images, photographs you have taken, or simply screenshots.

Images also help improve SEO. But remember to include a descriptive ‘alt’ tag when you include an image.

Apps for your Shopify blog

There are a number of Shopify Apps to help you manage your blog. The two we’ll focus on for this post are Content Calendar and our BlogFeeder app.

Content Calendar
The Content Calendar app gives you a month-at-a-glance interface to schedule and manage blog posts. From the calendar view, the app allows you to select a date and quickly create a “New post”. This starts a draft for your post that you can complete and save. The post gets published on the future date you had selected at a specified time.

content calendar interface for Shopify blog post

Content Calendar interface (Source)

The app lets you see which posts are sitting in drafts and which ones are already published, making it simple to plan out your content schedule to maintain consistency. In addition, the app provides a text editor to compose and edit content for your posts.

NOTE that as of the date of publishing of this post, the Content Calendar app is still under final testing, but this is definitely one to keep on your radar.

BlogFeeder
If you already have an existing blog or feed and don’t want to create a new one just for Shopify, our BlogFeeder app can help! The app lets you easily import your existing blogs and continuously keeps them in sync.

This can also let you choose to blog on a different platform, as the Shopify writing experience can sometimes be a bit cumbersome for frequent writers. For example, we prefer to write using WordPress as a team.

BlogFeeder lets you import from your existing WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, Squarespace, and other blogs (even from other Shopify sites). In addition, it also lets you import your social media feeds from Pinterest, Instagram (by tag or user), and Facebook status updates.

Import any RSS feed into Shopify

Import any RSS feed into Shopify

The BlogFeeder app can import any RSS feed to import posts into your Shopify blog. This lets you focus on creating content on platforms you really like, and not try to simply duplicate or waste extra effort on building your Shopify blog.

Get more details in our previous post about BlogFeeder or check out demos of how imports look from different platforms.

Summary

Your Shopify blog is a powerful tool to create new content for your store. This can help boost your SEO as search engines tend to index sites higher that are active and updated often. A blog can also help you connect with your customers through the topics you write about, and gives you an opportunity to let customers see and interact with the people behind your brand.

By blogging about up-to-date and relevant content, in turn, builds customer loyalty. This brings customers back to your site as your blog can be the go-to place for information about your products and store.

You can use apps like Content Calendar to schedule posts and BlogFeeder to import your existing blogs from a different platform, like WordPress.

What is your biggest challenge for writing a blog? Tell us in the comments.

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